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Galley Tables

Feb 18 2015
Godfrey Feeling 'Animated' About New Cabinet Role PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
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Jennifer Canfield/KTOO
    Gov. Bill Walker named his new rural affairs adviser today at the Alaska Federation of Natives winter retreat in Kotzebue. Gerad Godfrey’s full title is Senior Adviser on Rural Business and Intergovernmental Affairs — a title that Godfrey says is meant to communicate that much of his work will focus on economic development in villages and bringing tribes to the table when the state seeks to consult with local governments. 
    Godfrey is an enrolled member of the Native Village of Port Lions tribe and has worked as a director of corporate affairs for Kodiak-based Afognak Native Corporation. He also serves as chair of Alaska’s Violent Crimes Compensation Board. Godfrey says he excited to be part of a change in how the State of Alaska, tribes and corporations interact.
    “I’d say one of the first things I was intrigued by is the opportunity to be involved in a reset between tribal interests and Alaska Native interests and the State of Alaska and the government,” he said. “That obviously is something that animates me, and I think animates a lot of people, if there’s potential to create a more fruitful relationship and a relationship that reciprocally beneficial to both the state and the Alaska Native community and tribes.”
    Willie Hensley, a former state representative and senator who’s been active in the Alaska Federation of Natives since its inception, says he pleased with the governor’s choice. Hensley says Godfrey needs to focus on maintaining services and jobs in rural Alaska and working with coastal villages impacted by climate change. Godfrey is coming into the role at an important but difficult time, Hensley says.
    “I think it’s wonderful that he’s willing to take on the challenge, because it’s not going to be easy. Things have been hard in Alaska, it’s just the way of life up here, but we’ve had 35 good years in which people have enjoyed a much improved life, many conveniences, many services, programs, facilities that could hardly even be dreamed of in my youth,” Hensley said. “Now, of course, all of that’s under jeopardy because of the nature of our economy and our dependence on oil, so he’s going to have his hands full.”
    Godfrey’s access to the governor will be limited for now as the legislature is in session and lawmakers are tackling a major budget deficit. Meanwhile, he says, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott is very accessible.
    “The lieutenant governor, who is an extraordinary authority and resource on Alaska Native issues, will be highly, highly available in the absence of the availability of the governor. So, there will be more access without a doubt and nobody has the governor’s ear any more than the lieutenant governor does as an Alaska Native leader for decades himself,” Godfey said “One way or another there will be a good deal of access to the administration between the governor and the lieutenant governor.” 
    Godfrey will be based in Anchorage and is spending his first month on the job taking meetings and making contacts. He says he may convene a summit of Alaska Native stakeholders in the near future. 
Feb 17 2015
Afognak Native Corp. Exec Hired Away by Governor PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    Alaska Governor Bill Walker Tuesday appointed a man with close Kodiak connections to be senior advisor on rural business and intergovernmental affairs. Walker appointed Gerad Godfrey at an Alaska Federation of Natives retreat in Kotzebue. 
    The position is cabinet-level, and Walker said Godfrey's experience will help strengthen the state's ties with communities in rural Alaska.
    Godfrey has been director of corporate affairs for Afognak Native Corporation, and is enrolled as a member of the Native Village of Port Lions.
    For the past 13 years, Godfrey has chaired Alaska’s Violent Crimes Compensation Board, and has held seats on a number of other boards and committees, including the Alaska Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Alaska Native Village CEO Association’s Legislative Committee, and the Alaska Federation of Natives Media & Election Committee. 
Feb 17 2015
City Council Looks at Big Picture in Federal Funding Requests PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
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Jay Barrett/KMXT
    At last week's Kodiak City Council meeting, the annual federal wish list was approved. As City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski explains, the request for capital funding help from Washington D.C. was in a different form, on the advice of city lobbyist Brad Gillman.
    "He and I have been back and forth on what would be the best approach for the coming year at the federal level. And so what you see before you and what we've talked about is it's much more of a list of issues that we'd advocate for rather than the traditional list of capital projects."
    She said such an approach still reflects the city's needs and has been successful before.
    "And I think it's important that we rely on Brad's expertise and advice. We were successful if you'll recall, we spent a couple years requesting considerations for set aside funding for small ports in the Pacific Ocean Division in Alaska. That was successful, and this is a similar approach, so."
    And under than plan of broader advocacy, Kniaziowski said transportation funding is especially important to the city.
    "Priority number one on the resolution is advocating for a consideration of our delegation to support a set-aside type funding so that it could go to smaller communities for road repairs and sidewalk repairs and so forth. And we all know we're trying to get money to repair, rehabilitate Mill Bay Road. So what that first priority is sort of a general statement of some set-aside funding and then it identified those transportation-related projects that have been our top three projects for this coming year, certainly with the state."
    Councilman John Whiddon said he was pleased with the CIP request approach.
    "It's one of the first ones I've seen with all three or four, however many requests, weren't fund-based requests. I think this really reflects the needs of the community. The Karluk Lake enrichment project which we've been talking about to our delegation for the last coupel years now, as has the borough, is really critical to the West Side setnetters. The sea lion impact on the ferry dock is really a great issue to bring forward to our delegation. Also, the two EPA issues I think are criticle to maintain the viability of our harbor and our fishing fleet," he said. "So I really applaud you for this."
    The resolution passed unanimously. 
Feb 16 2015
FV Savannah Ray Grounds in Storm; Crew Saved PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 February 2015
Matt Miller/KTOO
    Four people were rescued when their boat went aground in Chiniak Bay early Monday morning.
    Crew of the 80-foot fishing vessel Savannah Ray turned on their 406 megahertz EPRIB and issued a mayday call when they went high and dry at about 1:30 a-m.
    The four people donned survival suits and prepared a life raft. A Coast Guard H-60 helicopter from Air Station Kodiak hoisted them aboard just after three o’clock this morning.
    Two of the boat’s crew were taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment of unspecified injuries. The other two refused treatment.
    Fortyfive knot winds were reported, with 11-foot seas, rain, and one mile visibility.
    Chief Petty Officer Robert Luna, watchstander at the Coast Guard’s Command Center in Juneau, says it hasn’t been determined what caused the vessel to go aground. Another helicopter was scheduled to fly over the grounded vessel to check for pollution. 
Feb 13 2015
State Budget Cuts Could Cost Kodiak Jail $1.2M Yearly PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 13 February 2015
1.25 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Jay Barrett/KMXT
    Effects of the State of Alaska's budget shortfall could be felt sooner rather than later in Kodiak, if the Department of Corrections' proposed budget moves forward unchanged. In it are no funds for any of the 15 communities where the state contracts for jail space. 
That includes Kodiak, which at 24-beds, is the largest jail in the state that would be affected, according to Chief Rhonda Wallace. She said the city is in year two of a five year contract with the Department of Corrections, but she's not sure if the contract is iron-clad if the state really wanted to get out of it.
    “If they're looking eliminate funding, you know, I guess they could possibly back out of that contract. But we're hoping it doesn't go that way.”
    She said the city is looking at a loss of $1.2-million per year if it looses the state contract, which would likely put a crimp in her budgeting for next fiscal year.
    “We would definitely have to come up with a contingency plan. Not looking forward to it. I'm hoping that Juneau will pull through and not do this. It not only affe3cts our community, but affects the inmates we do have here. Taking away that funding would definitely drop the amount of inmate we could house because we're not longer responsible then for Department of Correction inmates.”
    At that point, the state would likely have to start flying inmates back and forth from Anchorage to make court appearances here in Kodiak.
    “Our facility is a 30-day holding facility. So there's the ability to be able to hold people on the island where their families can still come see them. There's not such an impact to the individual. And then if they have a sentence that goes beyond the 30 days, then they can be transported off island. But it would cost the state quite a bit if they had to then transport all these people because they're state custody.”
    Some smaller communities, like Haines, depend on the Community Jail program money to fund half their police departments. Wallace says that's not the case in Kodiak, and a potential cut wouldn't affect other KPD divisions.
    “So everything that the 1.2-million that they give us goes to take care of training and travel, supplies, the repair and maintenance of the facility, the wages and salaries of the employees, rental equipment. Everything that is associated with the jail.”
    She said the question of staff cuts to employees in the jail would depend on what the city council wanted to do, and how any contingency plan – if needed – works out. 
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